Field Education

As the weather gets chillier and wetter, our schedule changes from the beginning of the year. With our first two Spike’s under our belts, we transition to our Field Education weeks, alternating between time in the classroom and time in the field.

Each week of Field Education the students spend 2-3 days on a work site around Eugene. Thus far we have spent our field education weeks working at the Spencer Butte Challenge course ( as seen below), and Hendricks Park.

IMG_2927            Work site activities can include trail maintenance,

IMG_2913 debarking and splitting logs,

IMG_2919moving logs to line trails, and much more. The students learn the skills required for any sort of work environment (strong work ethic, taking responsibility for your actions, being prepared), and help the greater community.

In addition to the work site, students spend the remaining days exploring. This  includes physically adventuring into various pockets around Eugene, from rivers and mountain tops, to Taxidermy shops and BowTech.


We ventured West to explore the rivers where Wild Salmon were still spawning. Several salmon were spotted around Whittaker Creek, included a pair of fighting males.


A group of students even went Chantrell hunting, collecting this rich bounty in just a hour.

IMG_2995 Students hiked up to the top of Spencer’s Butte to see the sights.


Some exploration was closer to home, such as this venture up to Moon Mountain where students dabbled in the art of camouflage…IMG_3078

…and fire making. The wet and windy conditions proved a challenge, but these students persevered, carefully slicing away dry tinder, and were rewarded with a small flame before it was time for lunch.

IMG_2934IMG_2946 IMG_2976IMG_2954 Students at the taxidermist shop got a full tour of the facilities, and got to see all stages of the process.IMG_3094

Some students went on a tour of the BowTech facilities as well, seeing all the machinery and people needed to put together the most advanced archery equipment.

Not all of our adventures required us to leave the classroom however. Some activities were able to be completed right here at ODS…


…such as this steam engine that a group of dedicated students put together…

IMG_3081IMG_3085 IMG_3088IMG_3092  …or these ghillie suits that students made, learning about camouflage and the concept of biomimicry.

And of course for the holidays, one can’t forget the Gingerbread Cookies and houses. IMG_3098 IMG_3105

Gingerbreadhouse2 George GingerbReadHouse


We’re excited to see what new adventures 2016 will bring for our Field Education.

Happy Holidays to all!



Fall Spike

It’s been over a month since we’ve returned from the dusty trail, but the stars have aligned and we now have all of the pictures we could muster from our Fall Spike.

One group spent 3 days travelling with Oregon Youth Conservation Corps River Stewards program. They paddled North along the Willamette River from Salem to the San Salvador Access near Dayton, OR. The adventure included lots of wildlife sightings, including over 30 Blue Heron’s throughout the trip, 1 flipped canoe (thanks to another), testing the boats durability with three people paddling together, and an afternoon of invasive species removal. These stewards took a field and destroyed the Scotch Broom that had a tyrannical hold over the area. Down time was spent skipping and collecting rocks, tossing a frisbee, playing Football, and sharing stories and riddles around the campfire.

Once the river trip was over, the water group spent a drizzly weekend exploring Bohemia Mountain, and some waterfalls around Brice creek. Then the work week at Schwartz Campgroup began. Over a period of two days the group tackled a tremendous amount of moving gravel, mulch, dirt, blackberries and more scotch broom.

River Crew Fall Spike Photos

The land group began the trip with work at Schwartz Campground, starting off the gravel and dirt moving process, and helping install several impact pads to minimize the impact that future campers have at the site. Once the work was done, the play began. Their adventures also included exploration days at Bohemia and some of the nearby waterfalls, hiking and building forts. These adventurers even treated themselves to a spa day, covering themselves in mud from a nearby river bed.

Land Crew Fall Spike Photos

8 days was a long time to be in the woods, but these students showed that perseverance, creativity and collaboration can get you through a lot. The week ended strong with Big Clean, and a well-deserved 4-day weekend to dress up and eat candy.